Greek and Cypriot grape varieties as a sustainable solution to mitigate climate change

Aim: The aim of this report is to present evidence on the potential of Greek and Cypriot grape varieties to serve as a sustainable solution to mitigate climate change.

Methods and Results: The work provides a review of recent works involving Greek and Cypriot varieties’ performance under high temperatures and increased dryness.

Conclusions: Climate change could threaten the existing balance between local environmental conditions and vitivinicultural production systems over the majority of wine producing areas. The subsequent decrease in the suitability of the current winemaking regions will require, apart from short-term adjustments in vineyard management, the adaptation of plant material by the use of late-ripening and drought resistant varieties and clones. Greek and Cypriot grape cultivars appear to grow well under dryland conditions, and additionally they mature their crop later than most of the well-established international varieties. However limited evidence exists regarding the direct effects of high daytime temperatures and drought especially on the quality of their grapes. This information would greatly assist grape growers in improving cultivar selection and adjusting management decisions.

Significance and Impact of the Study: Indigenous grapevine varieties of the semiarid viticultural regions of Greece and Cyprus have received much less attention compared to other grapes native to Mediterranean areas and therefore deserve to be better studied as a sustainable solution in the context of climate change. However, substituting existing varieties will change the “identity” of (mainly) European wine appellations, therefore the effectiveness of any strategy depends on both the willingness of grape growers and consumers to accept new varieties and also on the flexibility of current legislation. 

Author: Stefanos Koundouras*

School of Agriculture, Aristotle University, 54124, Thessaloniki, Greece

Email: skoundou@agro.auth.gr

Keywords: Plant material, grapevine, adaptation, temperature, drought

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